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Hurricane Harvey: Cloud To The Rescue

Hurricane Harvey is by far the most powerful natural force to have ever ripped through Texas in living memory. As a Category 4 Hurricane, it’s one of the biggest to batter the US in more than a decade. It has killed at least 38 people, caused billions of dollars worth of property damage, left hundreds of thousands homeless and dumped up to 20 inches of water in some parts of Texas, battering them with winds traveling at up to 45 mph, almost as a spiteful afterthought.

Natural disaster chart

Large-scale natural disasters of all types are happening with increasing frequency, as can be seen in this chart from climate.gov.

While it is tempting to write off Harvey as a once in a decade disaster, flood insurance is increasingly becoming a political issue and Benjamin Strauss, Director of Climate Central, is predicting that floods and sea level rise will eventually submerge 316 coastal cities, with up to 1,000 US cities being partially underwater in the next century.

Small Businesses Are Particularly Vulnerable to Natural Disasters

Hurricane Sandy

Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, above, often disproportionately affect small businesses, who rarely have disaster recovery plans in place.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the US in 2012, it put a number of key data centers underwater and threatened to interrupt nationwide internet service, as critical IT infrastructure (server and networking equipment) was damaged by flooding in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

We only really have publicly available numbers on the governmental and enterprise IT infrastructures that were affected by flooding, we can only guess at the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that were badly damaged by the flooding and would have taken longer to recover.

Unlike large organizations and the government, most small businesses do not have disaster recovery or contingency planning in place, plans that have been thoroughly tested by IT professionals. Most businesses affected by the flood zones may not even have some sort of backup system, but if they do and it’s based onsite then it’s not a real backup in a disaster.

We know from experience that the small businesses that survive natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey are those that leverage the cloud and do not have their desktops, data, applications and servers physically located in their places of business.

How Iron Orbit Cloud Solutions Help You Maintain Business Continuity

When we first heard about Hurrican Harvey, we immediately reached out to our Texan customers to reassure them that their desktops, data and applications were the least of their worries, as everything was safely tucked away in the Iron Orbit cloud.

We have a number of customers in Texas, some of them are trapped in their homes and most of them are unable to access their offices, but most of them are still operating their businesses remotely using our cloud platform, accessing their desktops and data from our secure datacenters, over a 4G mobile internet connection or fiber if they still have connectivity.

Iron Orbit data centers

Iron Orbit's nationwide network of data centers ensures that you always have access to your IT, even in the event of a natural disaster.

Their offices and all of the computer equpment in the business district may be under 45 inches of water, but their people are all working from home, coping the best way they can to help their own customers through this crisis. Every small business we can keep online is another small business on the ground in the affected areas who can help their own customers.

Those who own and operate business premises which have been affected by a natural disaster will all tell you the same thing: make sure that your primary business data, employee desktops and the software they need to operate your business is safely hosted in the cloud and not at your physical office address. While you may normally want all of your people at their desks every day, you also need to make sure they can work from home if the worst happens. The cloud organically enables your business to become much more resilient to natural disasters.

How to Get Enterprise-Level Business Continuity with Iron Orbit

Talk to the Iron Orbit team to learn how we can disaster proof your business by migrating all of your business’s desktops, applications and data into the cloud, making them accessible on any device with an internet connection. With multiple offsite datacenters and a solid cloud back up and cloud restore strategy, we have you covered in the event of an emergency.

If you are anywhere near the flood zone, or you think that in the future you may be potentially affected by a probable natural disaster, then relocating your businesses digital assets into Iron Orbit’s cloud is a great way to ensure that your business is resilient in a worst case scenario.

Iron Orbit hosted desktop

Iron Orbit cloud solutions let you access your IT from anywhere.

If you want to help those affected, please head over to All Hands Volunteers and donate. They have hundreds of people on the ground helping those who are badly affected by this disaster.